Less than $200 tuition increase proposed at U of I
Inflation-neutral hike would be smallest in more than a decade
CHICAGO – Tuition would rise by the rate of inflation next fall for incoming University of Illinois students – netting the smallest tuition increase in more than a decade – under a proposal that will be considered by the Board of Trustees at its meeting today in Chicago.
If approved, guaranteed four-year tuition for incoming in-state freshmen would increase 1.7 percent – or the equivalent of 0.7 percent per year during the four years that rates are locked in under the state’s guaranteed tuition law. The tuition guarantee was launched in 2004 to help students and families plan for the cost of a public university education by fixing tuition rates for the four years required to complete most undergraduate degree programs.
The recommended increase adheres to an inflation-neutral tuition-setting policy enacted by the Board two years ago that aims to hold down costs by limiting increases to an index of the cost of living, barring significant reductions in state funding or other University support. The proposed 1.7 percent increase tracks closely with both the Consumer Price Index and the Higher Education Price Index, which monitors costs for the nation’s colleges and universities.
The proposal would increase tuition by less than $200 a year on each of the University’s three campuses. In dollars, the increase would be the smallest since the 2000-01 academic year in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, and the smallest since 2001-02 in Springfield. The percentage increase would be the smallest since 1994 on all three campuses.
President Robert Easter said the tuition proposal was achieved with the help of ongoing cost-cutting efforts that have netted more than $50 million in annual savings over the last three years, allowing the University to hold tuition to the rate of inflation while maintaining the high-quality academic programs that make the U of I one of the world’s premier public research universities. He said the proposal reflects the University’s commitment to affordability, and ensuring that costs are not a barrier to student access.
“Last year, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which created land-grant universities like the U of I and opened the doors of higher education to the children of all social classes,” Easter said. “It helped fuel the most dramatic social and technological advances in our nation’s history, and it is critical that we ensure those same opportunities for new generations of students.”
Tuition increases at the U of I have been trending down. Following a 9.5 percent increase for 2010-11, tuition rose 6.9 percent for 2011-12, 4.8 percent for 2012-13, and would rise 1.7 percent for 2013-14 under the proposal that trustees will consider today. All of those rates were locked in for four years under the guaranteed tuition law.
If approved, the proposed increase would be well below the average 4.8 percent increase that incoming, in-state students paid at the U of I last fall. That increase matched the average tuition increase at U.S. public four-year colleges and universities for the 2012-13 academic year, according to the most recent survey by the College Board, a nonprofit association representing U.S. colleges and universities.
Under the proposal, base tuition for in-state students would increase $198 to $11,834 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $174 to $10,406 in Chicago, and $157.50 to $9,247.50 in Springfield.
If approved, the rate increase for next fall’s incoming Illinois-resident freshmen would be less than a quarter of the average annual increase of about 8 percent over the past decade, which brought sharp increases in tuition to offset steep declines in state funding. The University’s annual state appropriation, which covers day-to-day operating costs, has decreased nearly 23 percent – or about $180 million – since fiscal 2002. Over those years, enrollment has increased nearly 16 percent, to about 77,500 students across the University’s three campuses.
Officials said the University hopes to hold future tuition increases to the rate of inflation or below, but cautioned that significant reductions in state funding could lead to larger increases.
In addition to promoting affordability, the University’s tuition-setting policy calls for the Board to lock in rates early in the year rather than in the spring. By setting tuition in January, trustees aim to make the planning process easier on families and allow more time to firm up financial aid.
The board item on tuition that will be considered by trustees is available online: Board item 9.
Undergraduate Fees / Housing
The Board also will consider adjustments to room-and-board rates and changes to student fees for the 2013-14 academic year. Undergraduate room-and-board costs at the Urbana campus, based on the standard double-occupancy room and 14-meal-per-week plan, would rise 3 percent, or $291, to $9,979 per year. Similar to the guaranteed four-year tuition policy, room-and-board costs on the Urbana campus are locked in for up to four years if students continue to live in campus residence halls, a policy set by the campus.
At the Chicago campus, the cost for a double-occupancy room and 14-meal plan would rise 2 percent, or $201, to $10,261 per year. At the Springfield campus, the cost for a double-occupancy room in Lincoln Residence Hall with a full meal plan would rise 4.9 percent, or $480 to $10,350 per year. The increase at UIS is higher because the residence hall is still in debt service, and meal rates had not been adjusted for two years.
The costs cover expenses including operations, utilities, food and maintenance as well as ongoing efforts to upgrade and replace campus housing facilities.
Trustees also will consider adjustments to student fees for the 2013-14 academic year. The proposal excludes student health insurance rates, which are typically established in March.
Fees that will be considered by the Board contribute to costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and also help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.
At the Urbana campus, those fees would increase 1 percent, or $30, to $2,916 per year, and Chicago’s fees would rise 1.5 percent, or $44, to $2,948 per year. At Springfield, fees would rise 6.1 percent, or $110, to $1,892 per year, due largely to a student-authorized increase in a library technology fee that helps pay for resources such as online journals, servers and Internet access.
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 77,000 students, nearly 23,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.